CSA 2008, Week One.

Keith and I decided to do a CSA this year, for the first time. We were introduced to the idea of community supported agriculture by our friend Melissa, who had brought home what seemed like bushels upon bushels of ridiculously lush produce last summer. A CSA generally works like this: the buyer pays the farm a fixed rate per time period, and the farm provides the buyer with a box per week of whatever in-season crops are available. It really is a win-win situation, since the buyer gets super-fresh produce while supporting a local, independent farm.

Back in January I started doing research to find area CSA program participants and in time we settled on The Food Project in Lincoln; for $650, we’ll get weekly boxes through the end of October.

Today we got our first box of goods; I received an email earlier this afternoon detailing what produce to expect. The Food Project had informed us that, as the growing season got underway, the boxes would initially be smaller; as we headed closer and closer towards summer, the boxes’ contents would be sufficient for two adults on vegetarian diets — diets neither Keith nor I follow, I should add. We’ll be using our boxes mainly as supplements to our meals, as opposed to the foundations. Starting off with less and gradually building up is perfect, since it’ll give me a chance to figure out how to best adjust my grocery shopping habits.

I’ve got to say that it was so exciting to come home to our box, which Keith had picked up in North Cambridge on his way home. This week’s box had the following nestled inside:

  • Two heads of lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips

I decided that tonight I would make a salad out of the greens and some orange and grapefruit segments, mixed together with a honey and sherry vinegar dressing (which we had alongside pork chops sautéed with sage and garlic). I haven’t cooked with turnips or parsnips before; not only that, but I came home much later than usual, and I didn’t want to just rush into some sort of boring old mash. I want to take the time to look up some really great root vegetable recipes, and truly get the most out of the ingredients. I’ll report back in the next few days with what I find.

Here’s the “recipe” for the dressing, which is not only insanely simple but also tastes great with all sorts of greens and citrus fruit.

Honey-Sherry Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in olive oil until mixture is combined. Drizzle over salad and toss.